The Alabama Senate has approved legislation saying private schools and non-failing public schools don't have to take students transferring from failing public schools.
The Senate voted 21-12 Thursday for a bill making changes to the Alabama Accountability Act. The bill makes clear that a student transferring from a failing school in one school system to a non-failing school in another system has to provide his own transportation. It also tightens up which schools will be designated failing schools.
The main gun bill before Alabama lawmakers is headed to a compromise committee of senators and representatives.
Sen. Scott Beason, the Senate sponsor, says he couldn't sign off on the version that House members passed late last week after reaching a compromise that involved law enforcement leaders and the National Rifle Association.
The Alabama Legislature has voted to extend two taxes that support the state Medicaid program.
The assessments on nursing homes and hospitals were due to expire this year, but the Senate gave final approval Thursday to bills that extend the nursing home tax for two years and the hospital tax for three years. The bills passed the House earlier and now go to the governor to be signed into law.
Senate budget committee Chairman Arthur Orr of Decatur says the bills were critical to maintaining Medicaid services for low-income Alabamians.
One of Alabama's best known political scientists is retiring.
Brad Moody is ending a 40-year career of teaching political science and public administration at Auburn University Montgomery. Moody is a Texas native who arrived at AUM in 1972 and soon made a name for himself as a media commentator on Alabama government and politics.
Alabama's prison system is getting dozens of new officers, but officials say it's still badly understaffed.
The Department of Corrections is holding a graduation ceremony in Selma on Thursday for 70 new correctional officers. It's the first of three corrections classes planned for this year at the Alabama Criminal Justice Training Center.
But department spokesman Brian Corbett says the agency loses more than 20 officers a month through attrition, so the new officers only make up for three months of normal turnover.
The University of Alabama Birmingham has launched a partnership with four community colleges allowing students who earn an associate's degree automatic admission to UAB and a $2,000 per year scholarship.
AL.com reports (http://bit.ly/16ijqVT ) UAB President Ray Watts announced the partnership Wednesday with leaders from Gadsden State, Jefferson State, Lawson State and Wallace State-Hanceville.
Republican lawmakers are pushing a plan that would move up the voter registration deadline before each election.
Current law allows registration until 10 days before an election. A Republican bill would change the deadline to 17 days. The measure passed a Senate committee Wednesday on a party line vote. It now goes to the full Senate.
Republicans say local registrars need more time to prepare accurate voting lists for poll workers to use on election day. Democrats say the move will make it harder for people to vote.
Officials in Tuscaloosa City Schools are considering a policy to randomly test students for drugs.
Mike Daria, assistant superintendent of general administration, told the Tuscaloosa City Board of Education on Tuesday that he and several other administrators have been in talks with high school principals about creating a random drug testing policy for students in middle and high school.
The Tuscaloosa News reports (http://bit.ly/YF22Io) that creation of the policy is in its early stages.
The Alabama Senate worked late Tuesday night to approve an education budget and a 2 percent pay raise for K-12 employees.
The Senate voted 22-11 for a nearly $5.8 billion budget that would increase spending slightly on schools next year. Then it voted 18-16 to give teachers a 2 percent raise. Both the budget and the pay raise bill must return to the House for review on Thursday.
The raise would be the first for K-12 employees since October 2007. It would take effect when the new budget begins on Oct. 1.
The Alabama Legislature has voted to legalize home brewing.
The Senate voted 18-7 Tuesday night for a home brewing bill. The bill passed the House earlier and now goes to the governor for signing into law. Gov. Robert Bentley said recently he had no objections to the bill because it does not allow home brewers to sell their beer or wine.
Alabama has been the only state prohibiting home brewing. The bill allows adults to make 15 gallons of beer or wine every three months.
The state Public Service Commission is starting a review of Alabama Power Co. rates.
The commission holds the first of a series of meetings Wednesday in Montgomery. The commission announced it will have a company overview and discuss the fundamentals of the rate structure on the opening day.
The commission recently wrapped up a similar review of Mobile Gas rates. The commission plans to make a decision about the company's natural gas rates on June 6.